Fundraising ideas!

Hello everyone

I'm starting to put together an article for charity runners who are fundraising (for FLM and in general), and I’m hoping you guys might be able to lend a hand...

I'd love to hear how you raised money - did you hold a good old bring n' buy sale? run a sweepstake based on your finishing time? or did your baking skills come in handy?

How did you choose a charity to support? How did you find enough time and energy for fundraising as well as training? How did you cajole money out of people with ‘sponsor fatigue’? And is there anything else you wish you’d known when you were totting up the pennies for that Golden Bond place?!

All pearls of wisdom and fundraising anecdotes much appreciated, the more practical and useful the better.

Thanks in advance for your time,

Alice RW


  • I have run for Children with Leukaemia for 5 years because when my son was younger he was very poorly and one of the things being considered was leukaemia - as luck would have it it wasn't that but it brought to my attention the awfulness of the disease and what the children and their families have to go through.

    I stuck to the good old favourites like - online page,  a sweepstake of guess the nearest finish time, raffles, sold cakes at work, did a car boot sale, approached my children's schools for non uniform days and the local infant school did a marathon event of their own with half the proceeds of their sponsorship going to me and the other half going to the school (supported by gifts from the charity for the biggest fundraiser etc)

    It was hard at times fitting it all in but I over the years have managed to raise £11k in total with a bit of effort and some very generous friends and family. 

    Believe in the charity you are supporting as it helps loads.

  • I am running this year's FLM for Wellchild and an employee of mine suggested that instead of everyone sending each other xmas cards when we see each other every day that a donation be made to the charity.

    Needless to say i have promoted her to campaign manager!!

  • Wrap things around other events.

    IE a friend made a fantastic choccy cake for me for Valentines Day and I had some boxes of chocs donated so I raffled them around my office.  At Easter three of us put £10 each in for a VERY big Thorntons Easter Egg and then I bought three for £5 ordinary ones.  Raffled around the building where we work and raised £240.

    I would love more ideas though as I do at least one charity event a year and squeezing money out of people is getting harder all the time.

  • Before our first London Marathon last year the mrs and I signed up half a dozen family/mates to help us bag pack at our local supermarket. Not so exciting after a 20-miler the previous day.

    It was a relatively quiet Sunday and we only covered about half the tills but came away with more than £400 in about four hours.

    Our charity - Anthony Nolan Trust - gave us a load of t-shirts, stickers, buckets, balloons etc so we looked the part, which I think helped.

    Another thing that worked was telling our respective parents how well the other set were doing at getting cash for us - playing them off against eachother (in the nicest possible way and in the name of charity).

    One thing people need to look out for though - our target was £1500 each with a £200 deposit each for the place. We didn't just have to raise the £1500 though - anything above that was just taken off the amount of deposit we'd get back - making the total target £1700 if you want to see your deposit again. More than a bit annoying to find this out after raising £3300 between us and completing our first marathon - the charities aren't stupid.

  • I can run a marathon GFA time so getting into FLM09 was no problem, and really took the pressure off any fundraising targets.

    My charity was Against Breast Cancer, as my wife had it last year and is now in remission.

    The plan was to target groups in this order

    Close friends
    Her work my work
    Contacts on Runners World
    Her church contacts
    Anyone else we bumped into.

    I never set a target, and was stunned when I hit £1,000 so quick.

    Some promised, and I reminded them, but after that if they hadn't given I didn't push, with the credit crunch everyone is struggling at the moment.

    What really surprised me was the generosity of the people on the sub 3 thread. Loads made donations who had never met me before, which was astonishing. Perhaps they paid up not to meet me!

    Despite the charitable bonuses on offer for me going sub 3, I failed yet again, which was disappointing.

    Anyway we finished up with a tidy sum, and I'm currently negotiating with my work to see if they'll match the donations I collected, which could see the pot double.

  • My running partner and I did FLM the same year, and did lots of our fundraising together.  In the runup to Christmas we had an Open Day at her house and invited the world and his wife.

    I made loads of mincemeat and sold it in Jars decorated to look all Christmassy.  Same thing with onion marmalade.  Also made loads of cakes to sell.

    My chum made loads of Christmas cards, and organised people she knew who had little craft stalls and so on to sell their stuff on the day and give her a share of the takings.  We got some local shops to donate raffle prizes and  sold the tickets at the open day.

    People were incredibly generous and we raised hundreds of pounds in that one day - almost made it to four figures.

  • At work I contacted my customers and sold advertising space on my t shirt to them.  Most went for it as they felt that they were getting something for their money.
  • has stopped charging commission on all sponsorship fundraising - so every step you take and every penny you raise now goes to the cause you care about.

    Now you can reassure your sponsors that 50p out of every £10 donation isn't being diverted to pay for your sponsorship website - and it's good to know that if you're running the Marathon you're not slogging 1.3 miles just to pay for your sponsorship page!

    If you want to find out more check out Free My Charity - and please spread the word that sponsorship fundraising should be commission-free.

  • A mate of mine ran for Children with Lukeamia a few years ago.  He hired the village hall and put on a cooked breakfast, selling tickets for a fiver a go.  Its now become an institution and he does it every year, regardless of whether or not he's running the marathon.
  • I raised a load of cash by selling tickets to predict my finishing time. At £10 a go with a first prize of £100 for the closest time, people seemed to pay more as they thought they were getting something back rather then just sponsoring me.
  • I see this is pretty old but still very useful. I've just found another way to run and do some good in the world so I'm telling everyone about it. The Good Gym - run, do some community work, run some more. It's a brilliant idea:
  • Contact local shops and ask for vouchers/freebies then ebay them and tell everyone. Ebay will not charge fees if it is for charity, most local shops will get involved in return for some advertising - particularly for local charities.

    Run a sweepstake on lottery bonus ball, grand national, losing weight, swear jar, soaps outcomes, dates of office colleague popping sprog, date you hit your fundraising target, who will win the local kids footy match... anything really. Make the prize one of the shop freebies.

    Get persmission from the council, dress up in a costume, collect money in the street in buckets with people who receive the funds. E.g. did this for a local disabled college to fund sports and rehab equipment, I was a fairy, they loved the day out. Made over £700quid in 2 hours in coventry town centre and one random lovely lady bought us all sweeties.

    My friend also made up jewellery with bits and pieces from a craft shops, was really easy, really cheap and sold it for loads for the charity.

    Had a cheese and wine party once - £15 entry, buy a range of cheap to expensive wines from a warehouse and get some people to bring their faves, spend the evening supping and sipping and you usually have a decent wad (of cash and wine) left over!

    Costume at work, stand outside the canteen at coffee and lunch breaks taking peoples change - often in exchange for some handmade stickers or summit.

    Print little cards for random occasions and sell them to people at work and running club with funny slogans. e.g. "happy friday", "thinking of you - that's all", "Dear friend, happy easter/valentines/christmas/all saints day - this card covers all celebrations you have in the next year, Love me", "happy sunshine day", "it's raining outside so this yellow card is for your daily sunshine", "happy bonus day", "happy bladder busting monthly meeting day"...

    Come Dine with Work Me - had a serious of dinner parties (usually one a week or fortnight) and ask people to pay what they think it is worth. The person who raises the most cash gets a bottle of bubbly and all the cash goes to charity. It's really like eating out at a resturant and paying anyhow!

    Ben B - thanks for the tip on a free chairty site - so pleased this is finally happening - I hate using online sites and justifying the % scrape to the host.

    I often spend my long runs thinking of ideas to distract me on the long boring bits. Some of the ideas are ludicrous when I think back afterward and some work!

  • E mmyE mmy ✭✭✭

    I ran an online page and harassed work friends and family for fundraising. There were the normal raffles etc. One of the best ones i've seen is  a sweepstake for the final marathon time. You get whoever sponsors you to guess the time and they get a prize if they win (this was donated by a local company). It really got people thinking and betting against each other (down to the second at one point!).

    I also like the idea of cake sales/newsletters. I ran a race for SOS Children's village and put that in our department newsletter (it goes across Europe). I suddenly got donations from Europe, US and some completely random bosses/people.

    One of my colleagues who is running London is planning a "dress up" day. You can pay £1/£5 (dependent upon the article) and he has to wear it all day (everything from a bikini, flower hat, nail polish, make up. There will probably be a big group of them doing it so hopefully it'll raise a lot of money. I think the more people that you can harness for the cause - the better you can do.

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